Published 9:41 am Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Charmie Brooks

Charmie Brooks, 98, of Ironton, passed away Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, in Ironton. She was the widow of Robert H. Brooks.

Charmie lived up to her name through the good times and bad times. Loved by everyone who knew her, “Corky” was never known to complain or say anything bad about others. She loved people, was always happy, positive and kind. She was also the life of the party. Even in her 90s, she was the youngest person in the room and on the dance floor. She loved to travel, and took numerous trips with the Eagles to Myrtle Beach where she was known for her great margaritas. She visited her son, Bob, in California many times, traveled to Mexico and Hawaii and on two occasions traveled to Europe; once with her son, Bob, on a five-week road trip to Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, France and Switzerland.

Her grandson, Rigel, and her ex-daughter-in-law, Olga Vásquez, joined them for part of the trip. On a later occasion, she accompanied Olga to Denmark and Sweden. But, most of all, she cherished her sons, Bob and Rick, and her grandson, Rigel. She was especially close to Rick, with whom she shared a home in Ironton for many years.

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Charmie Cordelia Cowan was born in Smith County, Va., on Feb. 24, 1915, to George and Gracie Cowan. Her mother died when she was 5, and her stepmother, Alma, raised her and her brother, Earl.  She graduated from Salem High School in 1932, but missed the ceremonies due to an appendectomy.  She enrolled in nursing school at Jefferson Hospital and after graduation worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md.  In June 1939, she married Robert H. Brooks of Roanoke, Va., and moved to Ironton on Sept. 1.

In Ironton, she was employed at Lawrence County General Hospital where she worked in many areas of the hospital including the OB-GYN ward, the emergency room and the operating room. Later she worked as a nurse for Dr. Newton Spears and as the Lawrence County TB nurse. Then she worked 20 years as a caseworker and supervisor with the county welfare department. When she retired from the welfare department, she worked for Jo-Linn’s Nursing Home until 1999, retiring two months short of her 85th birthday.

Throughout her life Charmie always found time to spend with sick and dying friends and do volunteer work. She worked with the 648 Mental Health Board, the bloodmobile and children’s services, and in 1983 she was named the Citizen of the Year by the Community Betterment Club and was recognized by the Ohio Senate and the U.S. Congress for her service.

She is survived by her sons, Bob and Rick; her grandson, Rigel; her great-granddaughter, Xochi; her nephews, George and Earl Cowan; and her nieces Beatrice Skelley and Charmee Beauclaire.  Her extended family includes Olga Vásquez and the families of Edna Brown and Tammy Skaggs, her longtime caregivers.

Funeral service will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Tracy Brammer-Monroe Funeral Home. Interment will follow in Woodland Cemetery. Friends may call the funeral home from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

Lewis Motycka

Dr. Lewis M. Motycka entered his heavenly home on Jan. 12, 2014, after a brief illness and a lifetime of service to others. He was 89 years of age. Lewis is survived by his wife of 64 years, Helen Valasek Motycka, of Ironton; sons, Dale L. Motycka of Evansville, Ind., and Lawrence M. Motycka (Katherine), of Fayetteville, Ga.; and daughter, Kathleen M. Smith (Jeffrey), of Huntington, W.Va. He is also survived by grandchildren Michael A. Motycka (Ann), Lenexa, Kan.; Matthew A. Motycka (Jenna), of Evansville, Ind.; Spencer M. Smith, of Toledo; and Alexandra C. Smith, Huntington, W.Va; and great-granddaughter, Mara Jane Motycka.

He was born in 1924, near Toledo, to parents Martin and Frances Motycka, and was the third of four children. He graduated high school and entered the United States Army in 1942. A member of America’s Greatest Generation, he served in Europe with ‘A’ Battery, 499th Armored Field Artillery, 14th Armored Division. He was wounded in battle and was honorably discharged Dec. 1, 1945.

He returned home and entered veterinary school at The Ohio State University. He married Helen Valasek in 1949 and graduated from veterinary school in 1950. At graduation, Lewis and Helen were recruited to move to Lawrence County to confront a hog cholera epidemic. He became the county’s first licensed veterinarian, and served families and their animals throughout the Tri-State area. He delivered more foals and calves than he could count, and managed a busy large and small animal practice for nearly 59 years. For many years his summers consisted of holding numerous rabies’ clinics in the county, serving as veterinarian to the Lawrence County Fair, squeezing in a week of fishing at the Kitty Hawk, N.C., pier and getting ready for Ohio State Football in the fall. He will be remembered as a devoted caregiver to countless family pets and a forever Buckeye.

Lewis also served his community as a founding board member of the Hecla Water Association, was a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, and was a member of the Rotary and Sierra clubs. The family would like to acknowledge the dedication and service of all who took care of Lewis in his final days, especially the nursing staff at King’s Daughters Medical Center ICU.

Those who would like to honor his memory are invited to contribute a gift in his name to Ironton St. Joseph Catholic School Endowment Fund P.O. Box 499, Ironton, OH 45638.

Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m. today at O’Keefe-Baker Funeral Home with the rosary at 8:30 p.m. Funeral Mass with be 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph Church with Father David Huffman officiating. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. VFW Post 8850 will perform military rites.